Early this week, Bee fell ill with inexplicable fevers, midnight shrieking she couldn’t shake. Doctor’s visits, a 911 call. Night terrors, it was diagnosed. Common for her age, it was said.
Our instructions: cold compresses to the forehead, a tepid bath, fluids. While water seems a small attempt to rush the wild vacancy from her eyes, I do know this: there’s nothing small about water.
This morning, she felt well enough for toast.
So we’ve been hunkering down on the couch, declaring this the week of the Wild Kratts marathon. Of rest. Scout senses something awry, asks to leave the house, asks to run, asks for me to chase him away under the swingset, out past the sun.
Your sister’s sick, I tell him.
Sad puppy, he says.
Like winter, like a power outage, there is a quiet beauty hidden in the midst of illness, in nature’s ultimate pause button. Huddling up together, rising to the occasion, taking turns logging Motrin dosages and temperature readings. This morning, Bee asks if she can be sick next week, too, chats emphatically about her love for sleeping on the sofa. No, I tell her, but we both know what she means. The togetherness is nice.
Still, I often forget the worst part of a child’s illness, aside from feeling utterly helpless, aside from watching this once lively, wriggling creature roll up into a ball and tremble, aside from the sleepless nights and trickling fears, it is also the sequestering. The aloneness. The quarantine.
We’ve cancelled all plans, haven’t seen a soul in days. Even the introvert is feeling stir-crazy.
A small reminder: we need each other (albeit not whilst contagious).
1. If trying to distract a rambunctious toddler from hurdling onto a recovering 6-year-old, blow up 100 balloons and send him into the sunroom to kick/bounce/jump on every single one. He’ll return with a hair-full of static, ready for a nap.
2. Get well juice tastes better from a straw.
3. When your voice is hoarse from reading aloud, a storytime podcast works wonders. (I still love the ones mentioned here.)
5. Sometimes, the grocery delivery fee is worth it.
Sending well wishes for a happy weekend to you, friends. May you have health, togetherness and 100 balloons.